JABONG! Deal or no deal

Imagine yourself as a professional golfer in the PGA, playing on a weekly basis on the tour and now distracted when a threat, a breakaway group is looming in the horizon.

The threat is for real but assurances were made that the said breakaway group, the Saudi-backed LIV golf will eventually fold up what with the heavy penalty on transferee players who can no longer play for the Ryder Cup, President’s Cup and even in some majors. Fair enough, right?

But on June 6,2023 you woke up in the morning and so with the rest of the world of golf and suddenly jolted with the joint pronouncements of a PGA and LIV merger.

How come? All hell broke loose. You felt two timed by your lover. Rory McIlroy the long time altar boy of the PGA-DP World tour who carry the flag for the tour against the LIV felt on a bind and lost on the developments and now poor Rory was made to eat his own words.

The merged group issued a joint statement “a landmark agreement to unify the game of golf, on a global basis.” An agreement or a pact in which details and frameworks have to be finalized in “coming weeks” as the merger group described to sweeten the deal. No deal nor details came out after that but instead the migration of big stars from the PGA-DP world tour continued with the eventual transfer of John Rahm to the LIV in December.

It came as a bit surprising since the deal was kept secret from virtually all the players and officials. It all boils down to business. Money. And here’s the catch, all legal claims preceding the merger have now to be dropped. Isn’t it sweet? Sweetheart deal?

Fast forward on the week preceding The Players Championship on the TPC Sawgrass. PGA tour commissioner Jay Moynahan call up a press conference and again re-ignited the flame by declaring “that negotiations with the Private Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia are accelerating and that he sees a positive outcome given more time”. Ouch! Isn’t it nine months ago that such declaration of details and merger was pronounced?

The players are getting impatient and felt slighted already. A ticking time bomb.

What is intriguing for one is why the sudden change of heart of LIV group concerning the World Ranking points. LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman informed players on Tuesday that the league has withdrawn its application for world-ranking points, the very vital requirement for any professional golfer to be allowed to play in majors and the Ryder Cup. Does Norman knew something or something is being cooked and kept secret from the players.

It’s high time that the PGA and LIV draw the timeline for the details to assure the players of transparency and give them time to map out their future. Until such time that they come up with framework details, the temptation of migration will continue which might eventually result into the PGA becoming a farm team of the LIV. PGA will serve as training ground for golfers and when they have reached their peak, they moved to the more lucrative league and make money as what happened to JT, Brooks, Cam Smith, Henrik, the British stars, the Africans, and the latest one John Ramn.

In hindsight, maybe it’s their plan in the first place. We will never know; after all professional golf is about money and money changes everything.

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